The 2013 National Intelligence Estimate, released on Sunday, claims China is engaged in a massive, sustained cyber-espionage campaign against American businesses and institutions for economic gain. According to the Washington Post‘s Ellen Nakashima, nearly every sector of the American economy is being targeted by Chinese hackers, including energy, finance, information technology, aerospace, and automotives. Outside experts estimate business losses from hacking attacks in the tens of billions of dollars.
China, however, is not the only country engaged in systematic hacking for economic gain. The new National Intelligence Estimate also claims Russia, Israel, and France are also involved in hacking for economic intelligence–but at a far lesser scale than China. There is ongoing talk of a “cyberdraft” that would put information assurance experts under U.S. government control during critical wartime periods, and the Pentagon recently announced that 4,000 new employees would be hired for Cyber Command–a massive manpower boost during a period of Defense Department belt-tightening. The other week, of course, news came out that Chinese hackers systematically penetrated the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.